Do you ever get the glimpse of something bigger; some larger purpose for your life? There are little slices of time when I am struck with a little notion or idea that I can burst forth in a new way. This is the kind of leadership I like to write about and teach. It starts within a person as a whisper of inspiration or determination. Leadership that wells up from within each individual is the most important concept we can teach ourselves and our kids. To follow the idea further, I am starting a project called: L is for Leadership.
Perhaps the biggest disservice done by the outsize glorification of “leadership skills” is to the practice of leadership itself — it hollows it out, it empties it of meaning. It attracts those who are motivated by the spotlight rather than by the ideas and people they serve. It teaches students to be a leader for the sake of being in charge, rather than in the name of a cause or idea they care about deeply. The difference between the two states of mind is profound. The latter belongs to transformative leaders like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi; the former to — well, we’ve all seen examples of this kind of leadership lately.
I agree with Cain that there is an emphasis on leadership skills vs. leadership practice. I also am an introvert like Cain. Perhaps it is that introverts lead in a different way. Perhaps they are quiet enough to hear the whisper. However, there doesn’t seem to be a word other than "leadership" to define the self-direction that I am attempting to convey. I invite you as a reader to offer other words. In the meantime, I plan to share the complexity of what it means to lead ourselves. Being a former early childhood teacher I can't help but use the structure of our alphabet and examine leadership in 26 ways. Soon I start with: A for Agility. First a look at a growth mindset is important.
Cup of Leadership:
A blog for adults who lead kids to learn, read, and do. Follow blogger, Dee Bryce on twitter for more conversations.